Sha’Carri Richardson was banned from competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics because she tested positive for marijuana—now the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is reconsidering its cannabis ban.
WADA chose to take another look at the ban in response to “requests from a number of stakeholders” in international athletics, NPR reported.
While it’s not clear whether any changes will be made to the policy, cannabis will continue to be banned for the 2022 athletic season. WADA’s executive committee will begin “a scientific review of the status of cannabis” next year. In the meantime, a new version of a list of prohibited substances will be released by Oct. 1.
“I am pleased with the decisions that were taken today by the executive committee on a range of key topics. These will help further strengthen the global anti-doping program and the protection of clean sport,” WADA president Witold Bańka said.
“In particular, the decisions made by the committee in relation to compliance, the 2022 Prohibited List and in a number of science-related areas will prove to be important for the continued success of the system and for the good of athletes around the world,” Bańka continued.
Richardson sparked a lot of conversation after she received a 30-day suspension for testing positive for THC, an active ingredient in marijuana. Despite having won in the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials, she was unable to compete in the finals due to the penalty.
The track star said she used marijuana after finding out her biological mother died from a reporter days before the finals.
“To hear that information come from a complete stranger, it was definitely triggering. It was definitely nerve-shocking,” she told Today. “No offense to him at all, he was just doing his job, but it put me in a state of mind of emotional panic.”
“I’m not making an excuse or looking for empathy in my case,” she added. “However, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that…Dealing with the relationship I have with my mother, that definitely was a very heavy topic on me.”
Richardson was suspended during a time where several U.S. states had legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Many people question if the substance has any performance-enhancing properties.
“I didn’t think the evidence base for marijuana would be particularly strong,” Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic said according to NPR. “But as I looked at the papers yesterday, I was surprised at how weak it is.”